Rare breeding success for world’s smallest glider
KEEPERS AT TARONGA Zoo in Sydney, NSW, have welcomed at least five feathertail glider joeys in a rare breeding success.
Two joeys were spotted nearly ready to leave the nest box, while three more are still furless, blind and suckling with their mothers, according to a statement released today by the Zoo.
“We were the first Zoo to ever breed these tiny marsupials so it’s always exciting when we see joeys start to emerge,” said Australian Fauna Keeper, Rob Dockerill.
The world’s smallest gliding mammal, feathertail gliders are about half the size of a grain of rice when they’re born. “They then spend about 63 days in the pouch emerging furless and blind,” explained Rob. “The mothers only weigh 15g, so by the time the joeys reach nestling size, mum’s feet wouldn’t touch the ground.”
The older of the five newest joeys are now about 14 weeks old, and will soon be out of the nest to join around 30 other feathertail gliders at the Zoo.
“We’ve found that having a large group of gliders helps them breed. Since we started breeding them in 1988 we’ve seen up to 200 joeys emerge, in that same time only a handful of other gliders have been bred in other Zoos,” Rob said.